Whether ferrying slowly across an eastern North Carolina river or reaching out to touch a train that’s not about to stop, the wanderers in these stories yearn for what they can’t quite grasp. It might be what they’ve left behind or what lies ahead, but whatever it is, it won’t leave them alone. Regret and marvel, trouble and love—it’s Everything, Then and Since.
“These stories are miracles of concision. And, like all enduring stories, there is nothing short about them. Each of these continues after the last period. Each brief piece comprises a universe unto itself full of blood and heart and dirt and and sorrow and moments of joy so hard one your hands will tremble. Do me a favor? Read Everything, Then and Since slow. Revel in the cadence of these sentences, and dive headlong into this motley collection of actual lives on the page. You won’t come out the same.” —Peter Orner
“It is as if Michael Parker, one of the most prolific, skilled and classy of southern novelists, (If You Want Me to Stay) has created a new gene in Everything Then and Since. In these short stories the reader is drawn into a world with many viewpoints, mostly southern, all supposedly simple. Each is as subversive as it is elusive. Each is deft and witty. Each is old and young at different times and each feels personal. The affect leaves the reader panting. It could be the book of a trickster, but it’s not, though addictive, sad or funny. You have one reaction: you’ve got to fast forward to read the next story. It’s as if you were on some unknown, reckless path to find out what life means through his characters. Why is a short story doing this to you? You don’t care. You’re laughing, or wondering, or sad. You recognize the character and you’re compelled to turn the page to find the what and the why. It’s all in the when though, and the When never stops.” —Daphne Athas